Cease-fire in Syria? Support from Iran and Turkey boosts UN envoy's bid
Iran and Turkey back opposite sides in the Syria conflict, but the two powers are united in support for UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's proposal for a cease-fire later this month.
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Middle East Editor
Ariel Zirulnick is the Monitor's Middle East editor, overseeing regional coverage both for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine. She is also a contributor to the international desk's terrorism and security blog.
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A fresh cease-fire proposal for Syria received a much-needed boost today when Iran and Turkey, two regional powers who back opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, declared their support for the plan being shopped around by United Nations special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.
Although the actual fighting has been limited to Syria, other countries are providing funds, arms, fighters, and de facto safe havens, making outside support for the cease-fire critical to its success.
Mr. Brahimi has spent the week making his rounds of the region to garner support for the cease-fire, which would be slated for the three-day Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha later this month. His hope, The New York Times reports, is that a holiday "universally respected by Muslims could be the basis not only for a pause in the fighting but perhaps the beginnings of a dialogue in Syria."
"We heard from everyone we met in the opposition, and everyone [else] we met that, if the government stops using violence, 'We will respond to this directly'," Brahimi said from Beirut today.
"The Syrian people are burying hundreds of people each day, so if they bury fewer people during the days of the holiday, this could be the start of Syria's return from the dangerous situation that it has slipped and is continuing to slip toward."
Brahimi also warned regional leaders today that the 19-month conflict could not be contained within Syria's borders for much longer. Syrian Army shelling has already landed in both Lebanese and Turkish territory multiple times, Agence France-Presse reports.